Parents and Educators have been urged to talk to their children about reproductive health so as to sort the challenges of unwanted pregnancies among the teens that are on a high rise.
This was announced after publication of the booklet 'Reproductive Health for a Girl Child' a book published by the Cactus Publishers a local publisher aiming at releasing children's books.
Over the past three years, according to research in the Ministry of Health, statistics showed that 55,018 between the ages of 15 and 19 had unwanted pregnancies. The number of young girls that get pregnant increased from 6.1% in 2010 to 7.3% in 2015.
Jane Uwera, Founder of Cactus Publishers
Jane Uwera, founder of the Cactus publishers pointed out that teen pregnancy is a challenge on the body of the girls as well as mental wellbeing.
“A girl who conceives prematurely faces many negative impacts including death during childbirth, death or premature birth of the baby, life-threatening trauma, children growing up without love of both parents, and the right to live with both parents, children whose birth is not recorded and therefore, lacking identity,” Uwera said.
She added that these unwanted pregnancies also result in disharmony or constant conflict that later triggers hatred among family members.
Commenting on the book Uwera said, “this booklet is intended to showcase the important role families have in preventing unwanted pregnancies among teenage girls and role played by Rwandan authorities in giving justice to the victims.”
She shed light on the importance of educating adolescents about reproductive health and the guidance parents should give their children. "Parents must avoid a relaxed attitude towards the education of their children," she warned.
Uwera also reminded Rwandans to develop the habit of reading especially the young generation as a way of developing their reading skills and literature.
According to the Rwandan constitution, the penal code determines offenses and penalties for any person who commits the crime of child defilement is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than 20 years and not more than 25 years.
If child defilement is committed on a child under 14years, the penalty is life imprisonment that cannot be erased by any circumstances.
The law defines that a “child” means minor or someone who is under the age of 18 years.
Cover of the booklet "Reproductive Health Education for Teenage Girls"
Importance of educating the youth on reproductive health
Traditionally, in different cultures, it was taboo to discuss openly reproductive health. This was because it involved talking openly about sexual organs, something that is regarded as against cultural norms.
As this taboo still exists in some cultures, research shows that in those countries where education about reproductive health is set at an early age, it has contributed to the significant reduction of problems of unwanted teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
That is why the Government of Rwanda has made great efforts at different levels to create awareness and mobilize parents and teachers on the importance of educating children about reproductive health at an early age.
Cactus publishers bookshop